lundi 14 novembre 2022

Deployment of French Military in Crowd Control - English Version


Deployment of French military
in Crowd Control

 - English Version -

Translated with (free version)

(Sorry if there are errors in the meaning, word or verb of the expressions). 

Up date: 12/02/2023

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Bank establishment burned down on the sidelines of the Yellow Vests protests on 16/03/2019
Following the violent outbursts during the 18th act of the Gilets Jaunes protests in Paris on Saturday, March 16, 2019, the French government has requested that soldiers from Operation Sentinel be deployed on Saturday, March 23, 2019 to protect certain official buildings.

Burning barricade on a Paris boulevard leading to the Arc de Triomphe, December 1, 2018
The claim had already been made by a French Police union in December 2018 following the first violent outburst on December 1, 2018.

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Mobile gendarmes in Bordeaux on 08/12/2018
In terms of law enforcement, the Defense Code classifies
the armed forces according to three categories:
Article D1321-6
« the formations of the departmental gendarmerie and the Republican Guard constitute the first category forces. The formations of the mobile gendarmerie constitute the second category forces. The land, sea and air forces and the joint services, as well as the gendarmerie formations set up upon mobilization or upon ministerial decision, constitute the third category forces. »

Military personnel protecting the Le Bourget site where the COP 21 meeting was held in 2015
The presence of military in official buildings had already taken place during the COP 21 in November 2015 in Paris, to increase the number of units of law enforcement French CRS and French mobile gendarmes, for the demonstrations in Paris.
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French military in crowd control suit
Article D1321-9 specifies « that third category forces are intended primarily for missions tending to reinforce first and second category units, as well as police forces, as well as for protection missions. As a last resort, they may be required for force operations requiring exceptional security measures.»

  French military crowd control demonstration in September 2009 in Saumur
It is important to know that the French Army trains some of its units in Crowd and Riot Control (CRC).

Crowd control training of French soldiers on 19/12/2013 Novo Solo in Kosovo
It was confronted in Kosovo in the 2000s, as well as in Cote d'Ivoire, during Operation LICORNE, to protect its military bases established in OPEX (External Operations) facing local demonstrators, sometimes very hostile.

Demonstration of crowd control by French soldiers in September 2009 in Saumur
The equipment is the same as that used for law enforcement by some police, French CRS and French mobile gendarmerie units, with shields, soft truncheons and limb protection, except that the soldiers keep their machine guns.
Within the framework of the trainings, they are given by trainers of the French Mobile Gendarmerie.

Exercise of 11/08/2012 at Port Bouët Military Camp in Cote d'Ivoire
Depending on the location, water trucks designed to put out fires normally can also repel demonstrators or violent people.

Exercise of 11/08/2012 at the military camp of Port Bouët in Cote d'Ivoire
They can also use fire hoses in the same way, as here, during the exercise of 11/08/2012 at the military camp of Port Bouët in Cote d'Ivoire.

Here is a video of a company training in 2017,
in the camp of Sissones in France for a projection in Mali.

Exercise of 11/08/2012 at the military camp of Port Bouët in Cote d'Ivoire
The aim of these training sessions is to manage, control and repel demonstrators who might approach sensitive sites.
They can also launch tear gas or smoke grenades, within the strict framework of the law.

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Video of May 18, 2016
in front of the French Army Museum at Les Invalides
Operation Sentinel soldiers have had to deal with crowd control before, in 2016, as in this video where soldiers are seen preventing protesters from entering the French Army Museum located at Les Invalides in Paris.

American soldiers with mobile gendarmes in December 2014
during a training session at the CNEFG of St Astier
France also trains other foreign units at its St Astier school, such as here the U.S. Marines based in Spain, who can move to reinforce an American embassy in Africa or the Middle East.

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Exercise of 11/08/2012 at the military camp of Port Bouët in Cote d'Ivoire
The goal of the military of French SENTINELLE Operation was not to be in the streets, but to avoid any intrusion of sensitive government or army buildings.
If violent people had attempted actions against the buildings or gates, outside, it is the DAR (Rapid Action Device) that will intervene, supported by companies of CRS or Mobile Gendarmerie Squadrons, as had been done on 08 and 15 December 2018.


French Military personnel in front of the Eiffel Tower on the Esplanade du Trocadero in Paris carrying out their SENTINELLE mission
As a reminder, French SENTINELLE Operation, mobilizes between 7,000 and 10,000 soldiers on French territory depending on the threat. The system has been adapted to current events and the risk of attack.

French soldiers on a square in Nice
Also to be noted, the level of State of Siege. This situation is superior to the State of Emergency. It can only be implemented on a part of the territory, after deliberation of the Council of Ministers and with a presidential signature, when there is an imminent danger due to an armed insurrection or war. During a state of siege, there is a transfer of powers from the civil authorities to the military authorities.

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French Military personnel near the Sacré Coeur Basilica in Paris.
This state of siege arrangement in France has never occurred before.
The extension of the state of siege beyond 12 days is subject to parliamentary authorization. However, France has prepared Special Forces of the COS to intervene in case of shootings in cities:

Reservists protecting a street during a demonstration in support of George FLOYD in May 2020

Methods differ from country to country on the use of their military in this type of situation. The US, for example, has been using US National Guard reservists for many years to manage possible riots on its territory as a last resort.
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